Worst Hosts of a Major Sporting Event

  • The 1968 Mexican Olympics was affected by violent events all around the world
  • The Games in Athens and Rio had disastrous economical consequences
  • The 1968 World Cup in Argentine was affected by its political background
worst hosts of a major sporting event

It’s an honor to win the organization of a major sporting event from the Olympic Games to a world championship. But in the history of sport there have been some countries which couldn’t  grow up to the task and failed to deliver on the required level. From chaotic organization to last minute projects, several issues could be seen in the case of the worst hosts of a major sporting event. 

The 2021 Men’s Handball World Championships has just started in Egypt, but teams are already complaining about poor conditions. Small training facilities and long travel journeys to the stadiums were all mentioned in the negative factors of the tournament. Egypt hasn’t had an easy job to organize the event in this extreme time with special safety measures and without fans. But there were countries which were dealing with similar problems in a much simpler time after having several years for preparation. In these places we can find rich but inexperienced hosts along with traditional but less organized countries.

Mexico is in the worst hosts of a major sporting event

Mexico City won the organization of the 1968 Summer Olympics and became the first Latin American city to host the event. Even though several experts had concerns about the location of the city, which was 7400 feet above sea level. The lack of oxygen affected many athletes especially in long distance running. Winning times in longer distances than 1500m were the worst in decades with surprise winners in lots of events. At the same time short distance runners broke records due to less resistance in the thin air.

The background of the Olympics wasn’t too peaceful. There were demonstrations and fights going on all around the world at that time. Like in Czechoslovakia where Soviet troops invaded the country during the summer. Or in the US where more and more peace and civil rights protests were taking place. While in Mexico the army was shooting at student demonstrators. Several incidents happened in the Olympics as well. Black athletes from the US also protested for black rights on the podium and Czech gymnast Vera Caslavska turned her head away from the Soviet flag while listening to the anthem at the medal ceremony. It wasn’t of course all Mexico City’s faults but the surroundings were not ideal at all. And the location of the city had a great impact on the athletes’ performances.

worst hosts of a major sporting event

Other Olympic hosts struggling with issues

In spite of their ancient traditions in hosting the games, the 2004 Olympics in Athens was quite chaotic and badly organized. The organizers still managed to finish everything in time but the final cost was much more than the original budget, an estimated 15 billion US dollars.  In addition, most of the freshly built stadiums and sporting facilities were not used after the games. Hosting the Olympics was a great economical burden for the city and the whole country. It might have contributed to the economic collapse of Greece several years later.

After the effects of the 2004 Olympics it is even more surprising that Rio de Janeiro could host the games in 2016. The circumstances of organizing such a huge event were very bad in Brazil. From pollution to the Zika virus, athletes had to brace themselves to several challenges in Rio. While the atmosphere and fans were great, the situation has become worse after the Olympics. Stadiums have been empty and not used, some of them have already started to fall apart. Like the Maracana stadium which hosted the opening and closing ceremonies. Economic recession hit the city while the organizing committee had a huge debt to creditors. As it was reported by  online sportsbooks news in Brazil. Hopefully we won’t see similar issues in the next location of the Olympic Games, in Tokyo this summer.

Worst organized World Cups

Staying in Brazil, the county also hosted the 2014 World Cup, which was more successful than the Olympics. It wasn’t without problems either though with bad working conditions, missed deadlines and rushed finishes of the stadiums. Still, the 1978 World Cup organized by their neighbors, Argentine was a much worse version. The country was one of the worst hosts of a major sporting event mostly due to its political background.

worst hosts of a major sporting event

As in 1976 the military junta took over the control and led the country with oppressing human rights and any kind of resistance. Several countries wanted to boycott the event but it still went ahead. During the tournament referees and officials all favored the hosts in the games who reached the final with their assistance. They met the Netherlands and won the match 3-1 in extra time for their leaders’ delight. The next World Cup will take place in Qatar in 2022, which has also been dealing with some controversies.  From poor working conditions to extreme heat, many experts have raised concerns about the upcoming tournament. But it looks like Qatar will host the event as planned at the end of next year. Online gambling sites in Brazil are hoping for their team’s ultimate success and offering the smallest odds for Brazil’s victory.

A difficult Super Bowl in Florida

Bad hosting of big sporting events can happen in the US as well, as we can see in the following example. The XXXIX Super Bowl in 2005 was hosted in the middle-sized city of Jacksonville. But it became one of the badly organized events of the sport. The city simply didn’t have enough hotel rooms to accommodate the fans. So as an alternative solution, cruise ships docked in the city. The traffic was horrible with not enough taxi drivers and huge distances to cover. The training facilities for the teams were waterlogged and on game day a pipe burst inside the Allltel Stadium.

But New England Patriots fans still remember the final gladly. As their team won their third Super Bowl in four years. After they defeated Philadelphia Eagles 24-21 in the game. The LV Super Bowl is taking place soon, on the 7th of February in Tampa, Florida. As the city has already hosted four Super Bowls before, fans and players should expect much better conditions than in Jacksonville.

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